Philadelphia Mayor Jim KenneyPhiladelphia Mayor Jim Kenney

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PHILADELPHIA—The administration of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenneycontinues to promote the benefits of the controversial beverage tax imposed three years ago.

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The city's Rebuild program reports that in the first 12 monthssince the beverage tax funding was released, work has begun at 61facilities across the city. The work represents $126 million of newinvestment that has been committed or expanded earmarked to mostlyhigh needs neighborhoods, city officials state.

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In the months to come, Rebuild will start work on more newprojects, including kicking off construction at more than eight newsites this spring. At present, $4.8 million in new grants have beenawarded and four new roofs have been installed.

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In July 2019, Rebuild launched two pilot job programs aimed atgiving diverse Philadelphians opportunities for paid training andwork on Rebuild projects.

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Other figures released by the Rebuild program include 16enrollees in the workforce development training program; 25% arewomen and 100% people of color recruited; 50% of workforce traineesare now working as union apprentices and a total of 8,300 paidworkforce training hours and apprenticeship hours have beencompleted.

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In 2020, Rebuild expects to begin construction at more sitesacross the city, including the East Poplar Playground, the MilesMack Playground, the Rivera Recreation Center / Mann Older AdultCenter, the Fishtown Recreation Center's Lederer Pool and theVernon Park Playground. The program also intends to awardmulti-million dollar grants for more than 12 major transformationprojects; recruit 30 additional pre-apprentices, provide trainingand business support to more than 30 diverse small businesses andengage thousands of residents in the design and improvement oftheir respective parks, rec centers, or libraries.

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John Jordan

John Jordan is a veteran journalist with 36 years of print and digital media experience.